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Applying for Teaching Positions at Community Colleges

Why community colleges?

  • Community colleges, also called two-year colleges because they offer associate’s degrees, currently comprise about 41% of higher education in the United States today. These are primarily publicly funded institutions.
  • Graduate students who excel at teaching and enjoy working with a diverse student population may find teaching at a community college to be a good fit for them.
  • There are approximately 1200 community colleges across the United States, making these institutions a good option for individuals with geographical constraints.
  • While a master’s degree is required to teach at most community colleges, institutions are also eager to attract highly qualified PhDs.

Understanding the mission and values of community colleges

  • Community colleges are usually locally supported and provide vocational training as well as postsecondary education to students who intend to transfer to four-year institutions.
  • Community college faculty members are not expected to conduct research and publish as a condition of tenure.
  • Community colleges value faculty members who are skilled teachers. Teaching loads are fairly heavy (usually around 15 credit hours/semester).

Finding community college jobs

  • Like bachelor’s-granting institutions, most full-time, tenure track faculty positions are nationally advertised.
  • Some community college postings are advertised through scholarly/research societies, so look to the organizations within your own discipline.
  • Higheredjobs.com and the Chronicle of Higher Education are also good places to look for 2-year faculty jobs.
  • Most community colleges will also advertise on their own web sites. This page provides a list of community colleges, by state: www.utexas.edu/world/comcol/state/. CollegeAtlas also provides an extensive directory and guide.

 Tips on preparing effective application materials

  • Use a 2-page resume, not a CV. See these examples of resumes and cover letters.
  • Emphasize your commitment to teaching and relevant teaching experience in both your resume and cover letter.
  • De-emphasize your research experience. Accentuating your scholarship too much can suggest that you don’t understand the nature of the institution to which you are applying and that you prefer research to teaching.
  • Show enthusiasm for the position and explain why you are interested in teaching at a community college.
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